Do you know Ern? Rubik (Air-no Roobik)? You probably don’t. He’s the inventor of the Rubik’s Cube. A lot of people have a Rubik’s Cube. Only about 5 percent of people with them can solve them, though.
Do you remember having one? If you do and find it, take a closer look at that cube. It seems just like a cube, right? But did you know that there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 (43 quintillion 252 quadrillion 3 trillion 274 billion 489 million 856 thousand) possible positions that it could be in? Only one of the 43 quintillion ways is its solved position.
Ern? Rubik was born on June 13th, 1944 in Budapest, Hungary, and has lived in Hungary his whole life since. His mother was a poet and his father was a glider manufacturer. Later in his career in architecture, he became both a professor of architecture and an architect. One day, he wanted to create a 3D teaching tool to use to teach his students.
The first experiment he made for the 3D tool was with wood blocks, paper clips, and rubber bands. He invented the Rubik’s Cube in the spring of 1974. In the beginning, he struggled to build his prototypes because of the failing Hungarian economy. Eventually, a small company made his cubes and sold them moderately well across the country. Later, he convinced a company named “Ideal Toys” to produce more Rubik’s Cubes and the company next was named “Rubik’s Cube” instead of “Ideal Toys”.
After this, the Rubik’s Cube was named ‘Toy of the Year’ in many countries. At first the Rubik’s Cube was named the ‘Magic Cube’, but eventually, it was named its modern name, the ‘Rubik’s Cube’. As of 2015, over 350 million Rubik’s brand Rubik’s Cubes have been sold. It took Ern? himself a month to figure out how to solve his own creation! Ern? said that it was like “taking a walk in the woods and coming across many sights, but not being able to recall the way home because you have wandered so far from it.”
Imagine having to solve his cube to its solved position out of 43 quintillion possible ways! He later created the Rubik’s Magic, the Rubik’s Magic Master Edition, the Rubik’s Snake, and the Rubik’s Clock. On the modern Rubik’s brand Rubik’s Cube, there are 54 multi-colored stickers, unlike the wood that it was. In 1982 there was the first world championship, and the championships still continue today. Minh Thai, the winner, had the record of 22.95 seconds, which has now improved to 4.591 seconds by Seung Beom Cho from Korea.
Second best is 4.594 seconds by Feliks Zemdegs from Melbourne, Australia. Once a man tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube faster than Usain Bolt’s record of 9.58 seconds during his 100-meter run and succeeded. Even though he didn’t do it for a record, it just means that the Rubik’s Cube is getting more and more famous. There’s even a Rubik’s Cube cake made by French chef Cédric Grolet!
Now the puzzle is one of the most famous toys in the world. These days, the cube is not just in championships, but there are also now world records too! For example, there is a robot made by two MIT students that solved a Rubik’s Cube in 0.38 seconds, which is about a 60% improvement than the previous record of 0.637 seconds! They used two PlayStation eyes for the cameras on the robot to see the cube.
Ern? Rubik is currently 73. His children are about 30-40 years old. He doesn’t say anything about his wealth, but he probably is very wealthy being the inventor of one of the most famous toys ever. The Rubik’s Cube is a wonder!